A CASE OF RE-BAPTISM
When considering what constitutes a valid baptism, some may conclude that they were not baptized properly and need to be re-baptized. In last week's article we found that baptism is valid only if it was done in the proper mode. Valid baptism is a burial in water, (Romans 6:1-4). It is not a pouring or sprinkling of water.
One's baptism must be by the proper authority. That is, in the name of Christ.
Valid baptism demands that the one being baptized be a proper subject. In other words, he must be a penitent believer.
Finally, one must receive baptism for the correct purpose. He must be doing it in order to obtain the remission of sins, not because he thinks his sins have already been remitted.
Let's examine a case of re-baptism found in Acts 19:1-5. These twelve are first mentioned in Acts 18:24-28. The preacher is Apollos. Luke tells us that he was fervent in spirit and spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, "knowing ONLY the baptism of John," (V. 25). Luke further says that Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos unto them and expounded unto him the "way of God more perfectly," (V. 26).
We are to understand that when Apollos baptized the twelve, they were proper subjects. However, their baptism was lacking in some way. We know it was lacking because Paul re-baptized them, (Acts 19:5).
The mode of their baptism was immersion in water, so that was correct. John' s baptism was administered "for the remission of sins," (Mark 1:4), so that was correct also. Therefore we must conclude that the problem with their first baptism has to do with the fact that Apollos was preaching (and they received) the baptism of John at a time when John's baptism had already ceased. Christ had already given command to the apostles to go into the entire world.
In giving the worldwide commission, Jesus told the apostles to "wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father," (Acts 1:4-5). About forty days later, the promise of the Father (which was the Holy Ghost) came upon the apostles and they began preaching by the authority of Jesus (Acts 2:1-4).
Apollos should have been baptizing by the authority of Jesus, instead of John, (Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5). Baptizing by the authority of Jesus gives us the approval of the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son, (Matthew 28:19). It brings about "the remission of sins" and "the gift of the Holy Ghost," (Acts 2:38).
By Wendell Ward
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